Approaches to Reading and Literary Texts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language - Then and Now

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Table of contents

Introduction3

1. The concepts of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence.4

1.1. The importance of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence.4 1.2. The importance of literacy, reading comprehension, literary competence and literature in teaching English as a foreign language.6

2. Past approaches until the second half of the 20th century.7

2.1. Analysis of the past methods with reading and literature in view.8 2.2. The shift in the attitude towards reading and literary texts in teaching English as a foreign language.11

3. Modern approaches – introduction to Communicative Language Teaching.12

3.1. CLT analysis in the context of reading, literary texts and literature.13 3.2. Using literature in modern English language teaching.14

Conclusion17

References18

Anti-plagiarism statement20

Introduction

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers." Charles W. Eliot

The idea behind this diploma paper is to analyse the issue of reading and literary texts in teaching English as a foreign language throughout the ages until recent times. What is more, the purpose of this paper is to answer the question if methods and techniques applied by teachers of English included reading and literary texts in the language learning process and whether they have been successful or not. Furthermore, an attempt will be made to state the reasons behind a significant change in the approach towards the use of reading and literary texts in particular, in teaching English as a foreign language. The ultimate goal, however, is to prove that it is crucial to use reading and literary texts in an English language classroom. The first chapter is devoted to clarifying the concepts of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence. Then, the subsequent sections stress the importance of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence in general as well as the importance of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence in teaching English as a foreign language. The second chapter concerns past approaches towards reading and literary texts until the second half of the 20th century. This chapter reviews different past approaches in the context of the use of reading and literary texts. Finally, it proceeds with the changes in the attitude towards reading and literary texts in teaching English as a foreign language. The last chapter examines the issue of different modern approaches to reading, literary texts and literature in English language teaching with a respective review of Communicative Language Teaching. In the subsequent section an attempt is made to prove that language learning through the use of literary texts can be both rewarding and pleasurable.

1. The concepts of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence.

To understand the idea behind this diploma paper we have to define the basic concepts of literacy, reading comprehension and literary competence. The above terms are intertwined because without literacy there is no reading comprehension and subsequently, without reading comprehension there is no literary competence. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has defined literacy as follows: Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society (¶2).

According to Partnership for Reading (2005), reading comprehension is:...
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